Profile: 3B - 6'1" - 180lbs -BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20
• Hit: 40-55
• Power: 35-50
• Eye: 45-55
• Range: 45-55
• Hands: 40-55
• Arm: 55-60
• Run: 50-60
Signed as a 16 year old amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2007, Martinez has been slowly working his way up the Tigers Minor League ladder since then. He spent his first two years playing for the Tigers Venezuelan League affiliate before coming stateside in 2009. After a year in the Gulf Coast League, and a brief opening there during 2010, he'd make the move to Advanced A Lakeland of the Flordia State League.
He still swings down on the ball a bit too much and has a tendency to get out on his front foot too often, all of which leads to more ground balls and a general sapping of his power and an increased K rate, but his frame is powerful and athletic and at just 180lbs, he's going to continue to add bulk and get stronger. He's got quick enough hands to handle MLB pitching and as he continues to refine his swing and become more consistent I think he'll add pop and the K rate will come down.
In the field Martinez looks strong. He's got natural instincts at third and though he committed quite a few errors last year, he has good hands and a strong arm. Most importantly, he has the lateral range to ensure that he can make an above average number of plays. Even as his frame adds size, he should be able to maintain average to above average range. Martinez also has plus speed on the bases for a third baseman and with refinement looks like a 15-20 steal threat through his prime.
The FSL has a well deserved reputation as a pitchers paradise, and last years league average OPS of .688 bears witness. That Martinez was able to post what was essentially a league average OPS despite being a couple years younger than his average competition is a good sign. The most encouraging signs from Martinez came in his plate approach where he made strides in both the strikeout and walk departments. He's still going to need to make significant refinements to his swing however as his LD rate is perilously low and to realize his power potential, he's going to need to put more balls in the air.
Cruel as it is to strand any hitter in the FSL for more than one year, he's still likely not quite ready for AA competition and could use at least a little more seasoning there before being extradited from that purgatory.
He's still a lot more projection than refinement and there aren't a lot of easy comparables out there. But he could be a .270/.350/.420 hitter with average/plus defense and good speed.
Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.